Visit to the parish of St. Hippolytus February 12, 1984
St. John Paul II
Rome, February 12, 1984
The final meeting with the Neocatechumenal Communities who asked the Pope to bless the three itinerant catechists leaving for Turkey was significant … Father Maurilio has presented the groups of adults engaged in the life of the parish to the Pope, underlining the characteristics of each group, stopping above all on his scout group … and the Neocatechumenal Communities that, since 1973, represent a concrete proposal of permanent catechization for adults and have had the privilege to obtain the Pope’s blessing for the 3 itinerant catechists who were leaving for Turkey (a priest and a married couple). Rightly referring to the mission of the catechists as leaven that ferments the community, the Pope has said:
“I want to give thanks for this meeting which concludes this visit to your parish of St Hippolytus. I greet all of the groups, as well as the pastor who introduced you. I greet and wish that each one finds his own Christian identity more and more, his own charisma. Because just as religious families have their own charisma, for example, the Franciscan family, the Capuchins of the Franciscan family, so too the different groups of the Lay apostolate have their specific charisma. I wish you discover each time more and more your identity and this charism of the lay apostolate. This parish of St. Hippolytus is a big and numerous parish. A mass of men, but also a mass of Christians because I think that the majority of the inhabitants are baptized. It is Jesus who has said that the Church, the Kingdom of God, is necessary like bread is: to make the bread we need the mass of dough and we need the yeast, too.
I am convinced that all of these groups, the Charismatic and the Neocatechumenal, are yeast that must help grow, in a humane and Christian way, the dough of the parish. Yeast must penetrate more and more the dough to make it more Christian, more aware of being a Christian, more responsible for its Christian character, witnesses more responsible for their Christian identity. Your patron, Saint Hippolytus was a martyr. Martyr means witness. The Christians must be witnesses of Christ, of his Cross and of his Resurrection, of his faith, of his hope, of his love. This is what yeast is. And it’s a great thing if this yeast wants to spread beyond the parish and reach as far as Turkey, as you were telling me, to take the leaven of the Gospel even to non-Christians, in places which are a little intransigent that close themselves in front of the Gospel message. Some brothers of yours want to go there to be leaven in the dough so that all mankind may be reached by the leaven of the Gospel and they may become Kingdom of God.
I wish you all, especially you neocatechumens, that you walk this path with joy and with great responsibility, always trying to increase and expand the room for the love for Christ our Lord and Redeemer; expand the spaces of the Kingdom of God that has its roots in this world towards eternity, towards the house of the Father. I wish you to grow in the Kingdom of God who is at the same time within us, in the heart of each of us and in that of Christ and that has its exterior dimension in the dimension of the family. You are a portion of the Kingdom of God first of all, then parish of St. Hippolytus. I wish you to live the Christian joy, Christian responsibility, faith, hope, and charity which anticipate in this world divine life.”